Antibiotics don't work on the flu since the condition is caused by a virus and not bacteria. Antiviral medications are used to treat the flu, but you need to start taking the drugs within a couple of days for them to work well.
If you have a medical condition that makes you a high risk for complications from the flu, talk to your doctor so you have a plan for getting treatment right away during flu season. Here's a look at how antiviral flu treatments work.
Flu Medications Can Make Symptoms Less Severe
Even if you take antiviral medications right away, your flu won't be instantly cured. The length of your illness might be shortened by a day or two, but you can still expect to have symptoms. The benefit of taking antiviral flu treatments is that your symptoms should be less severe.
That makes the flu easier to endure, and it also might prevent complications that could require hospitalization. If you have a medical condition that puts you at a high risk of complications from the flu, then getting an antiviral drug as soon as you get sick is important as long as your doctor agrees the drugs are right for you.
There Are Different Drugs To Choose From
The CDC recommends specific antiviral flu treatments each flu season. There are usually a few to choose from that are administered in different ways. Your doctor chooses the right drug based on your medical history and age.
Antiviral medications for the flu are made specifically for flu viruses. Other types of antiviral drugs are not intended or approved to work on the flu, so you need a doctor's guidance for choosing the right drug and how to take it. Even children and pregnant women can often take antiviral flu medications, but they may be limited in the ones they should take.
Antiviral Drugs Slow The Reproduction Process
Antiviral flu drugs work by slowing down virus reproduction and lowering your viral load. This is why your symptoms may be less severe when taking antiviral medications. This is also why the drug is more effective at the beginning of your illness before the virus has had time to worsen.
However, don't put off calling your doctor if you've been sick longer than a couple of days. Your doctor may still recommend you get the antiviral drugs since they might still have some benefit of lowering the severity of your symptoms if taken later in your illness. Your doctor can decide when the medications are right for you.
For more information about getting flu treatments, reach out to a local care center.